Interviews

GRIMM Scoop: Sasha Roiz Interview

Grimm Season 4 Sasha Roiz as Capt. Sean Renard

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GRIMM Scoop:  Sasha Roiz Talks About the Grimmster Fund Auction and Teases What’s Next for Captain Renard and Juliette

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All our GRIMM heroes are taking part in a special charity event coming up and, during a recent press call, star Sasha Roiz talked about that as well as previewing how complicated things are about about to get between Captain Renard and Juliette again this season — as apparently Adalind’s curses and potions have literally come back to haunt them all in the most unexpected ways.

What can you share about the upcoming GRIMM auction and gala event?
SASHA:  The gala benefits an endowment that we began over here at Portland at the Children’s Hospital, called the Doernbecher and the endowment is called the Grimmster Fund and it’s to help benefit the families that need any financial assistance.  About a year ago we started the fund and then for the past year have been working closely with Comcast and NBC, our production of GRIMM, of course and Nike, have all come together to help put together this Gala for us which will be taking place February 7th in Portland.  We have amazing auction items, things from the set, props and costumes, as well as Nike pitched in and did an unbelievable one-time thing where they do a limited run of 50 Nike pairs of Grimm shoes, specifically designed for us. Some of them featuring the faces of the character on the shoe itself.  Those will be available at auction at the event as well as 400 fleeces, special Grimm designed fleeces, all designed by T. Hatfield, a very impressive name in Nike design. So we’re very excited for this event and currently it’s sold out so it’s going to be a fantastic opportunity to help us benefit this fund.  Currently for the online auction are a lot of the props and costumes and some of the drawings — one of a kind drawings — have all gone online and they’ll be available for bidding and for purchase up until February 4th.  (LINK to auction: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/about/dchf/fundraising/grimm-gala.cfm)

The business community in Portland does rally around causes like this. Can you tell me what other things do you like about Portland or have you guys found that you want to give back to?
SASHA: It’s an amazing community and just goes to show, I mean corporations as large as Comcast and NBC and Nike, who ostensibly seem likes these just giant companies that are impersonal are anything but. I mean, the people that I’ve met who have all come to assist us and who have gone beyond my expectations.  And have done so much in order to help put this together and help their own community. It’s really humbling and I’m so grateful for it. And it really is a testament to Portland and how strong a community it is here and how much they embraced us and so that’s really the motivation to give back.  Because it’s been our home now for four years and it really does feel like home now and so we really want to be a part of the fabric here and they’ve been so gracious in helping us accomplish that.

We don’t really hear a lot about casts in shows getting as involved as you guys are with this initiative.  Have you seen anything like this before in your career or is this something that is sort of new even for you, to see a show and a network get so involved in a community initiative like this?
SASHA: I hadn’t experienced it myself. Not to say that it hasn’t happened before, but I don’t know of it myself. But this is just a really special experience we’re having and I think it probably reflects that. We are a show that celebrates the city that we film in, both on set and off set. We actually represent Portland and I don’t think it’s really been quite as represented before. And so we take pride in that and in turn the City takes great pride in the fact that they’re being represented and positively represented by us aside from all the murderers and monsters and things like that. But I think they enjoy that we keep it weird, as they say.  And and this has become and this is four years now and, hopefully, we’ll have a few more and so it has become home for all of us. And everybody else in the cast, they all do their share and they participate in the community in different charities and nonprofits that move them and speak to them and it’s just been really just a symbiotic and natural evolution.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the Children’s Hospital and why you guys felt that they would be the best recipient for this Gala and for all the work that you guys are doing?
SASHA: They’re an incredible hospital.  OHSU is one of the premiere hospitals in the country and especially in this region where people come from bordering states, from all over the place to just be, to be patients of this particular hospital because of its reputation.  We came to realize very quickly in our visits that a lot of these families put their lives on hold and on top of all the difficulties and emotional trauma that they have to deal in regards to their children, they spend months, weeks, years sometimes, going back and forth trying to rehabilitate their kids.  In addition to that, they have to bear the burden, not just emotionally but financially, it can’t help but move you. So I think we just felt a certain connection to that cause and the hospital and the staff are just tremendous and dedicated and it just spoke to us. I’m sure it’s not the only charity, not the only hospital that certainly needs help, but we just kind of connected and we’re happy to be able to assist.

That cliffhanger.  Obviously Juliette came to talk to Captain Renard now that she’s partly Hexenbiest. Is there anything you can tease about that?
SASHA:  This season has become kind of like the season of the Hexenbiest. It’s a hexen feast, as I like to call it. There’s been Renard’s mom (Louise Lombard), there’s been myself, Juliette’s (Bitsie Tulloch) transformation, Adalind’s (Claire Coffee) involvement and a lot of sort of magical developments; some good, some bad.  And it’s definitely going to create havoc as you could imagine. It certainly already has for Juliette and now it slowly will trickle to everyone else. She’s come to Renard in that kind of partnership and assistance is going to be imperative for her to try to understand who she is and how to navigate this uncharted water for her.  So we’re going to become a little bit closer than I think Renard is comfortable.  Far more than he’s comfortable. And it’s going to be interesting to see how we walk this tightrope without falling back into any residual effects of that love potion a few scenes ago. So it’ll be definitely a fun storyline.

How is the dynamic at the precinct changing now that Wu’s (Reggie Lee) involved?
SASHA: It’s really interesting. It’s nice to have him on board. I like the dynamic as it’s slowly kind of evolving with Wu in the know of course now just keeping the rest of the precinct unaware.  But it’s fun to have yet another player, and a police officer in it because obviously we need all the help, as you can see we need all the help we can get because it’s starting to become unruly and far more than we can handle at this point.

How are you liking the evolution of your character in the show, especially since you’ve gone from villain to good guy?
SASHA: Oh I love this.  There’s probably room to go back to villain too and that’s what makes it so much fun. I don’t know, the audience doesn’t know, the writers keep me guessing as well as the fans. And that’s what makes it fun for me.  I like a character that is unpredictable and I like, as an actor, being in that position where I don’t know from episode to episode, from season to season, what is expected of me and where my character may go and it keeps me very interested and engaged.

Now that Juliette is coming up with these new powers, is there any chance that Renard’s mother somehow planned on this as a way to have a hold over getting where Kelly (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and Diana are?
SASHA: It’s a good question. I mean, I don’t know for sure, but anything can happen. And like these characters have their own imaginations and agendas and its always interesting to see what happens. Again, the writers just keep us guessing so just when I think I kind of know where it’s all headed, I’m always left surprised. And you never know who’s going to pop in, whose mom is going to pop in, or whose parents or cousins or uncles.  I mean, Renard’s still having a lot of trouble with members of his family and there’s a few more coming, some new ones, who are definitely going to make things even more difficult so. There is an ongoing swell of activity and characters that keep pumping in and out. So absolutely, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by who appears.

What was it like having that long summer hiatus where your life was literally hanging in the balance, were you worried?
SASHA: Well, I think when that initial script turned up where I was shot, I always felt very confident that I was well positioned in this cast and that I wasn’t going anywhere, but at the same time I was thinking:  this would be really good as a story line if they did kill me off. I’d be terribly upset, but I’d understand.  But I did have at one point just a little panic-attack and I’d have to go to our producer Jim Kouf one of our showrunners and at one point when he was on set I pulled him aside and I just started.  I said, “Hey, by the way, I just need to ask,” and he immediately interrupted and he goes, “You live.” And I go, “Thank you.” So I was put at ease so I wouldn’t have to sweat it out over the hiatus and thankfully I just had a chance to enjoy myself and come back to work.

What do you like the most about your character on GRIMM?
SASHA: I like the ambiguity the sort of moral ambiguity that you can’t quite predict this guy and even myself as an actor I can’t predict it because the scripts keep me guessing.  But I also like how he keeps his cards close to the vest and you just, you see him thinking, you see him constantly planning and scheming and just sort of trying to appraise the situation and how to best deal with it.  But you never quite know what his move is going to be so it’s a very interesting kind of like master chess player. And I love that about him. He’s a very, he’s working on so many levels at once and it’s really fun to enact that.

I love that you’re so involved in the city, but particularly with your theatrical endeavor with Portland Center Stage and Three Days of Rain with Silas Mitchell can you talk a little bit about that project. Now that it’s coming up do you have more information on that?
SASHA: We’re very excited, Silas and I have been wanting to do theater for a long time. We, I mean, obviously came from the theater, but it’s just been years since we’ve had a chance to set foot back on the stage so fortunately it worked out and was the last slot in their season and it coincided with our break so it just worked out perfectly.  And it’ll be directed by their artistic director whose name is Chris Coleman a very, very talented director. It’s a three hander, so we’re going to audition the female role and we’re going to get started in rehearsals in late April and I think we open around mid-May.  So we’re thrilled and Silas and I love working together and unfortunately we don’t have a lot of scenes together. Over the years we’ve only worked together maybe a handful of times and we’re looking forward to it because we’re very different actors, very different energies, but I think we really complement each other. So it’s going to be a really interesting endeavor.

What first drew you to the role of Captain Renard?
SASHA: Right, well, employment first drew me to the role, I really wanted to be employed. But beyond that it was, I’m just being facetious. But beyond that it was working with Jim and David which, they have such an incredible resume and such great success with so many shows that I’ve enjoyed.  They really know how to piece together an amazing ensemble and they thought that this character would be a really interesting player in this ensemble and they assured me of some amazing arcs and story lines and evolutions for him and they’ve come through. So I think I made a good choice.

Being four seasons on, what is it about the role of Renard that you maybe find challenging or do you find easier now that you’ve been doing it for a while?
SASHA: Well the thing that remains challenging is that it’s one of the characters that keeps getting developed. As an audience membe,  you can probably attest to that. That you don’t know his back story and it slowly unfolds as the season goes on.  You start to realize that he’s a prince, that he’s a Wesen, that he’s got all this family, that all these things about him become revealed from season to season.  Now those things are not necessarily revealed to me four seasons in advance so I always have to kind of, as an actor, keep a certain portion of the character uncommitted, meaning like, when they bring something in, I can still fit that into the makeup of this individual.  So that’s been the most challenging part but at the same time it’s a really fun thing. Right, because I can tell you with every development that you’ve seen I’ve been equally surprised. Oh, I’ve got a mom, oh I have a dad, I have a cousin, a brother, I’m a prince. I didn’t even know until the second season that I was Wesen. So all these things get layered from season to season and it’s really challenging and exciting.

What aspect of Renard do you relate to?   Is there anything about him that’s like you as a person?
SASHA: Sure. I mean, I think we all have parts of our characters that resonate with us. I think to some extent being an outsider, to some extent not fitting in, these are all qualities that we can all relate to. Certainly issues of identity or issues of belonging, these are things that resonate with me and I’m sure with a lot of viewers. I think that’s what makes him a very interesting and sympathetic character at times.  Even when he’s being as harsh as he is, you realize that there’s something fueling that that comes from a place of pain. And I think that’s something that as a human being you can certainly relate to whether it’s me acting it or you watching it.

Will Renard be taking his shirt off again this season?  You have become quite a sex symbol. How does that feel?
SASHA: There’s a lot of that coming up.  It feels on the one hand very flattering. And on the other hand it’s a tremendous amount of pressure. I feel like every day, I’m like when am I going to the gym.  Like it’s just all about the gym and my caloric intake and it’s all these things very pressing, much more so than perhaps I would enjoy. But it’s definitely an interesting aspect of the job and I’ve come to embrace it. It’s not a bad place to be, certainly in my 40s.

What can you tease about what is coming up for the rest of the season?
SASHA: Yes, there’s always Wesen. That’s one thing you can always rely on us for, there’s always some new creative and sometimes, like the current episode we’re filming, really weird new ones, like to the point that you’re scratching your head going, “How did they turn that into a Wesen?”  And you’ll see what I’m talking about, I guarantee, after episode 16. But there’s always residuals to everything. Every decision on GRIMM comes with repercussions.  So Renard’s life saving experience is definitely going to kind of come back and reek a little havoc for him because it’s not without its residual effects which you’ll see slowly with Renard suffering from some of those residuals. As well there is issues with more family members coming over and creating a lot of trouble for him.  And it’s getting progressively more and more heated, both life threatening and the politics become a lot more heated and the dynamics from the characters, obviously with Juliette’s new found Hexenbiest status, this is going to change things for everybody. So I get caught, or Renard gets caught in the middle of all of that and it becomes a really difficult seasons for him as the season progresses.

To see what is next between Juliette and Captain Renard and if her Hexenbiest status will change their relationship yet again, be sure to tune in for all new episodes of GRIMM on Fridays at 9:00 p.m. on NBC.

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